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March 30th, 2015

Gettin' Lucky in Kentucky...

This evening I am off to the land of the hill people to attend the American Distilling Institute's Spirits Conference and Expo. I'll be there to learn rather than "enjoy" myself, but anything interesting will be conveyed via @treetownspirits. The likelihood that I tweet anything super interesting is low, as my twitter game is not very strong to being with, and again, I'm there to learn. But as a personal favor, please follow @treetownspirits. You don't have to get alerts on your phone when I make dumb jokes, but we'd love the followers. Cheers.

Posted 2:04pm
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March 27th, 2015

So shines a good deed in a weary world...

As is happens every year, Oberon is on the shelves (and in my belly) yet snow is falling outside my window*. Sort of depressing? Sure. The trick is focusing on the fact that Oberon is available (It helps to drink one under a sun lamp.) You can also take solace in this:

Rick Santorum: "The Smart People Will Never Be On Our Side"

If we extrapolate this out, your 2016 Republican nominee will be the Great Gazoo, who will start every stump speech with "Hello Dum Dums." Because apparently, gilding willful ignorance did not die with the presidency of George W Bush. GOP! Thanks for coming clean**.

- Friday time wasters: Jack White gets the Led out with Robert Plant, new Death Cab album is streaming***.

* Just kidding. I am a put upon drone sitting in a windowless office who every day by 10am forgets what a blue sky and fresh air is.

** Insert Santorum joke here.

*** Not recommended for people still suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

Posted 11:58am
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March 20th, 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- 2015 movie project update: I've watched 69 movies this year so far (66 movies I haven't seen before - I originally planned on doing 365 "new" movies, but I'm already behind, and that seems ambitious now.) There are too many gems to begin to recount. I've seen a movie from every decade since the 1920s, which is a post in itself. I've watched movies from all over the world and from every conceivable genre. I suppose my one takeaway at the moment is that movie stars are movie stars for a reason. Wanna know why Bruce Lee or Katherine Hepburn are household names? Watch their movies. They are the famous elite for a reason. On a side note, looking at my list I realize how embarrassed I could be as a film snob in my tacit admission of some of the movies I hadn't seen before. Well I've seen Stuart Saves His Family now, so you can save your superior tone.

- Spoon on Kimmel! Watch Eddie Van Halen demo his new amp by playing a plethora of his famous riffs (He sounds a million years old, but still plays the guitar like he was ringing a bell). Also, this is probably going to be huge.

- I've got quite the heavy travel schedule over the next three weeks. I'll be in Portland, Kentucky and several points around the Mitten in the next little bit. I generally approach travel with apprehension and trepidation, mostly because I'm Moe and Judy's kid and the associated costs make my head spin. Since these trips will be in part business related and moreso since I'll get to see some of my favorite people in the world along the way, I'm going to focus on those aspects rather than my hemorrhaging bank account. I always try and have "It's only money" as my mantra, but getting myself to believe me is sometimes more difficult than you'd think.

- A friend of the blog asked me to submit an illustration for a book she is writing for her daughter. I think she's using it, but since I drew it, I assume I can still show it to you, even if I've lost claim to the copyright:

- Finally, Oberon. Sunday. Midnight. After the unforgiving winter, let your soul thaw with the delicious nectar that is synonymous with the warmth of summer.

Posted 10:14am
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March 17th, 2015

Erin Go Bragh

Fact: New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day are lousy with amateur drinkers who can't handle their alcohol. That doesn't mean I don't miss spending March 17th going from bar to bar watching the misanthropes and listening to bagpipes. Alas I suppose it's a consequence of getting old. I used to take the day off even if it meant going solo to the bars, waiting for people to get off work. Now people are too busy with family et al to even make it out after 5. Time eventually makes all of us her bitch.

- Your elderly St. Pat's Day alternative: listen to this amazing new album by Courtney Barnett. Best enjoyed with your favorite stout.

Posted 10:10am
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March 13th, 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- TWiIR notes: Spoon rocks a couplea acoustic jams, Record Store Day announces this year's releases and in appreciation of Freddie Mercury. I know it sounds like you're going to hear a vocal only track of the song, but since they failed to include one, here ya go.

- Midnight. One week from Sunday. Oberon returns. This Saturday. Tomorrow night. Chris Bathgate returns. The BDGF has no love for Mr. Bathgate because, in her parlance, it is whiny and sad. I love whiny and sad; in particular Mr. Bathgate's version thereof. Coincidentally, there's going to be 10 or so middle school girls spending the night at my house that very night. I feel like I will have earned the respite.

- "Never meet your heroes" is an adage for a reason. Everyone, even the famous, is just a person - fallible with foibles. Just because you enjoy someone's public persona or artistic output is no guarantee you'll like them as an individual. The adage is a precaution against disappointment, and in the 21st century, a warning to what celebrity does to one's psyche. Of course meeting one's hero who happens to be everything you expected - where the public matches the private - can be an experience that restores your faith in humanity. I imagine that's what meeting Bill Watterson would be. A recluse that "gets it". How refreshing.

- This:

- Finally, Last week the BDGF and the littlest were off on their annual sojourn to the State Academic Games tournament. As per usual, while they were away I was left to tackle projects around the house, not the least of which was a welcome home present:

Guess how many State championships they've won in a row? I couldn't be more proud.

Posted 10:25am
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March 10th, 2015

To Everything There is a Season

It's 44 degrees outside. It might not seem like much, but after a fairly brutal February it very much feels like the son of York has descended. That is certainly hyperbolic pretension, but does it seem less so when I remind you that Oberon is 12 days away! I'll give you a minute to compose yourself.

Of course there's baseball's opening day and the first time the temperature hits 60 degrees and for you sticklers out there, March 20th, but nothing makes winter its bitch quite like Oberon. He is, after all, king of the fairies*.

*you're a fairy.

Posted 3:45pm
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March 3rd, 2015

Whither Don Draper?

I have to log into an activity tracking site at work as part of an initiative for employees to get off their fat asses (thanks Obama). But hey, they pay me $100 to do so, so I dutifully log on once a week or so to input how much I've exercised. Every time I do so, I'm greeted with this:

Don Draper has really let himself go. I am increasingly less interested in the final season of Mad Men if Don starts wearing denim.

Posted 10:41am
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February 27th, 2015

And you want to be my latex salesman...

This week, President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline and the FCC approved net neutrality. On the other side of the aisle, Sen. James Inhofe brought a snowball to the floor of the Senate to 'prove' that climate change is a hoax. That is all.

Posted 9:39am
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February 24th, 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment.

- You guys! Come quick! Children in Kentucky are playing Led Zeppelin on Xylophones! I SAID KENTUCKY KIDS ARE GETTING THE LED OUT! ON XYLOPHONES! I am so filled with so many emotions I may pass out.

- I finally fell down the youtube rabbit hole of Billy on the Street, and I'm still a little winded from all of the laughing. Start with the above, and then your desert is Billy, Big Bird and Michelle Obama. Hooray internet!

- We played a little game here a few months back naming the one word best picture winners. In celebration of Sunday's event, someone stole our idea and made a souped-up version of our game. Fucking internet.

- The Michigan Brewer's Guild Winter Beer Fest is Saturday, and after a much too long hiatus, I'll be returning to Grand Rapids to stand in a parking lot in 30 degree weather and drink beer all day like an idiot. I'm obviously excited. Over one hundred breweries will be pouring over 1,000 different beers. It's a wonderful time to be alive...

- Finally, our whirlwind tour of Texas was a rousing success, and the BDGF is already planning the rest of our vacations in perpetuity to places like Kansas and Southern Indiana so we can see every manned U.S. space vehicle (I'm not even kidding a little bit). My Texas vacation placation was dragging everyone to trivia at the Alamo Drafthouse where we took third place. Go Team Apollo 15! I took a screen shot of our internet fame in case it disappears:

I'll get one of these kids to become a trivia nerd and come play with me yet. The littlest is clearly my best bet. I've already turned her on to Parks and Rec. The series finale is tonight, but we still have this to look forward to:

Posted 3:33pm
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February 13th, 2015

Space-cation.

Best I can figure there are three impetuses to go vacation: go see somebody, go see something, escape the weather. All three are equally meritous given your situation. When the BDGF and I go on vacation in Februarys, we try and balance her predilection for sunshine with mine for nightlife. Not that we don't love both, but our minimum bars for each vary. So far, we've managed to stay away from anything north of Tennessee no matter how much I'd love to see it, and we've similarly avoided a generic, all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, despite any guarantee of 80 degree weather.

The tipping point on destination choice usually ends up being NASA. We've been to Space Camp in Alabama, Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Neil Armstrong museum in Ohio, and the Air and Space Museum in D.C. The next obvious choice was Mission Control in Houston, where we will be headed next week. It'll be warm and there will be plenty to see and do - a sure fire antidote to freezing Michigan weather that makes one never want to leave the house.

We'll have the littlest in tow, so less concerts and breweries than our typical itinerary. Then again it's Texas, which seems to care less about bringing children into bars than your typical state, so you never know. In any event, vacation is good. The weather will be good. Most importantly, I'm not on a cruise ship or at a resort with limited entertainment options and forced interactions with Marge and Jerry from Wisconsin. I know I'll probably have to bite the bullet on that one someday. Here's hoping they get moon vacations up and running soon, because I'd rather start saving for that.

Posted 11:59am
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February 10th, 2015

This Week in Indie Rock.

- Listen and/or watch: Belle and Sebastian on Conan, new Matt & Kim video, Jack White on Fallon, Hamilton Leithauser live, Ben Folds new album teaser, new Death Cab and here's how alike Smith and Petty are.

- Watch how Bowie ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

- Here's the purported best song about every state. I've long held the belief that every song about Ohio is about how terrible it is to be there. The Pretenders, The White Stripes, Elvis Costello - the consensus is in.

- Finally, here's a great analysis about how a great album can lead to a ton of terrible knock-offs. Bottom line: you are underrating Van Halen.

Posted 11:59am
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February 4th, 2015

Broken, beaten down, can't even get around.

The rumors of my demise are apparently spot-on.Last Wednesday our truncated family (sans college kids) went to beautiful downtown Detroit to see an evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Opera House. You know, just a night listening to a lecture from America's most prominent astrophysicist, like you do. We were all super excited and I can honestly say we all left better informed and excited to go get out there and science.

Except for the fact that the Detroit Opera House's seats were designed by the Marquis de Sade.I'm not a large man. I'm 5'10" and 165 pounds, which is spot-on average height and 30lbs (30!) under the average weight of the American male. I don't say this to brag, just to note that if a night at the Opera House almost killed me, I don't know how they have anything there outside of fifth grade field trips.

Dr. Tyson spoke for two and half hours, which meant that I was shoved like rendered pork into a sausage casing into the miniscule Opera House seats for 150 minutes. I couldn't move my legs more than 2 inches in any direction for that entire time. I lost feeling below the knee about halfway through. It was unpleasant, but I was concentrating on the science, so I made it. Until the next morning that is.

I awoke the next morning stiff (non-sexually). As I went about my day, limping around work, things went from bad to worse. The next two (TWO!) nights I couldn't comfortably lay down in any position for more than about 10 minutes. I was covered in icy hot, heating pads and pumped full of ibuprofen. I was pretty sure I was going to lose the leg.

Of course I was fine by Saturday night. I still don't know if I pinched a nerve, pulled something, popped something or if I am just incredibly old and decrepit. I know that going forward, I have to treat my body like a five year old child, in that it has an inability to sit still for more than five minutes. Or it certainly can't be immobilized for two and a half hours. While I lament my inevitable decay, I do plan to use this condition to get me out of any event that I don't want to go to. If you can't use your age to get you out of doing the things you don't want to do, what's the point of getting old?

Posted 10:35am
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January 29th, 2015

Radio Silence.

I am not dead. Yet. The ol' bloggy blog has taken a seat in the way, way back in deference to other considerations as of late. To whatever loyal readers I have left, my sincere apologies. It's not like we all didn't see this coming. Like a relationship where people just grow apart, it's a tad lamentable but ultimately understandable. I promise we can still be friends. Look! We're hanging out right now!Sitting in the front seat of my discretionary time vehicle at the moment is something, should it ever come to fruition, I think you're going to really enjoy. It's a long shot and a ways away, but that hasn't prevented it from eating up the time I used to spend bloviating here. I can tell you that the BDGF and I own the following:

annarbordistilling.com
annarbordistillery.com
@a2distilling
c2h6odistilling.com
c2h6odistillery.com
@c2h6odistilling

For various legal reasons, the second set of addresses are probably going to be the important ones, but much more on that much later. Also, before you go clicking, there's nothing there. At any address. We have no content at the moment.

So that's where I've been instead of here. It's exciting and harrowing. I can't wait to tell you more as things become tangible. And I really look forward to enlisting you all to help us get the word out about our little misadventure. Cheers.

Posted 11:52am
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January 13th, 2015

You take the good, you take the bad...

I am predictably and I would argue understandably upset this morning. I mean, Ted Cruz is now holding NASA's purse strings and the man who thinks climate change is a good thing (that doesn't exist) is in charge of the EPA*. Oh, and let's just watch how your new congressional overlords roll back Dodd-Frank and the Volcker rule, because deregulating millionaires means we all win! Should we, or should we not, follow the advice of the galactically stupid?

As we rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, please to enjoy the new Belle & Sebastian and Sleater Kinney records, as well as Spoon's performance on ACL. Because in these trying times as our resolve is tested as it has never been before, we could all use a reminder that there is still beauty in the world. Or just take all of the drugs and dance around to the new Matt and Kim song. You always have an out.

*functional equivalent thereof

Posted 1:22pm
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January 9th, 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- Politics, politics, politics: America! Welcome your 2015 congress! Still enamored with a failed and debunked economic theory, while pissing all over the last bit of non-partisanship in D.C. (Oh, and Islamic terrorism is just like interracial dating!*). Take solace in the fact that they might protect your internet? Oh wait, that's not Congress, they are busy trying to add billions to the deficit just to sink Obamacare again .Congratulations, dickholes. Thanks for the economic recovery?
* Yes, this is not a member of Congress, but let us not pretend that Fox News isn't just the PR wing of the GOP.

- TWiIR notes: Watch Spoon play ACL and debut a new song in Houston. Jack White gets in on the ground floor (2015 edition) of virtual reality and put some easter eggs in people's furniture back in the day. And not to ruin your weekend if you haven't already heard, but the Magic Stick passed away this week. Or at least it will shortly be dead to me. We had good run kiddo. You will be missed.

- NASA makes some great travel posters and shows what it looks like on re-entry of an Orion spacecraft. I mean, you can literally do a Google News search for NASA any day of the week and be amazed. Good on ya NASA.

- A new trivia app for your mobile device enters the zeitgeist about once a year before eventually succumbing to the fickleness of the public's attention span. They also get a little easier every time out for some reason. Qrank was better than QuizUp was better than Trivia Crack, but I'm still currently in love with the latest trivia sensation. I probably won't be in month (the questions are often eye rolling) but for now, hit me up! It kills time!

- Finally, as a huge nerd I love cataloging things. I have spreadsheets of my album and movie and comic book collections. When I read that Steven Soderbergh posted a list of everything he watched in 2014, and that Doug Benson was trying to watch 365 movies in 2015, I decided to do the same in real time. So now you can travel a little further down the creepy internet voyeurism rabbit hole and keep up with everything I'm watching in 2015! Will I watch 365 movies in a year? The suspense is terrible! I hope it'll last...

Posted 11:42am
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January 5th, 2015

Happy Harbaugh New Year!

The old adage says that no poker player remembers any of the great victories of their career, but every last one of them remembers every bad beat. Or something along those lines anyway. It's a little sad but ultimately very true. In our day to day we do a lot more bitching and moaning than celebrating. Maybe there's infinitely more to complain about. Perhaps bitchery is more contagious than a feel-good-mutual-appreciation society. I know a profanity laced tirade is fun and cathartic, and a touchy feely monologue feels self-congratulatory and gauche. Some of these may be my issues and not applicable to society as a whole. When I'm being sincere, it's tough to say.Whether it's just me or not, I still think we could all heed Kurt Vonnegut's advice more often:

Please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'

You're probably back at work today. You're tired and irritable and inundated with shit that went wrong or piled up while you were out. Whatever your warm memories of the holidays may be, they're probably rapidly cooling in the blustery January air.

But hey, it's a new year. As arbitrary as that may be, it doesn't mean you can't use it as an impetus to remember to take a breath more often and mutter 'If this isn't nice...' Jim Harbaugh is in Ann Arbor! If that isn't a slap in the face reminding you that good things happen and should be enjoyed, I don't know what is.

Posted 3:51pm
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